On Super Pi Day (March 14, 2015… 3.1415…) Hemet High’s first ever Rubik’s Cube Team placed third at the Super STEM Saturday event held at Cal State San Marcos. Their third place finish came with a $50 check that will go toward the purchase of additional cubes for future use.
The team, coached by math teacher Kristin DeWit, consisted of Zane Munsinger (sophomore), Marcelo Placencia (senior), Kritamet Malayavej (senior), Arturo Miller (senior), Anthony Johnston (senior), Chad Shelly (senior), Garrett Patterson (senior), Derek Higgins (senior), and Ryan Schwyzer (5th grader from Valle Vista Elementary School).
During the team competition, eight team members had to solve 25 cubes as fast as possible. The team’s strategy was to have the slowest three students solve two layers and then pass them off to the fastest five to complete each cube. Mrs. DeWit stated, “We tried a few different strategies in practice and passing them off led to our best practice times.” In practice, our best time was 3:25. During the competition, the team was on pace to beat that time, but got hung up on the final cube, costing them an additional 40 seconds. Their official time was 3:55. “We are happy with the results. For our first Rubik’s competition I think we did quite well. We beat a team that has been attending the competition for several years, so we were pleased with that,” said Mrs. DeWit.
The Hemet High team also feels they deserve some credit for the upset that occurred between the top two teams. Mira Mesa High School had won the competition for the past several years and this year they were defeated by Del Norte by a mere 3 seconds. The Hemet High team scrambled the Mira Mesa cubes and felt that since they scrambled Mira Mesa’s cubes so well, they helped contribute to the Del Norte win! They were also impressed by the smoothness of the Mira Mesa cubes. Hemet High’s team members said their cubes “turned like butter.” While at the competition, the team received some tips from the Del Norte team on how to make their cubes turn smoother for future competitions.
In the solo division, Hemet’s top scores were set by Zane Munsinger (49 seconds), Marcelo Placencia (53 seconds), and Kritamet Malayavej (53 seconds). 5th grader, Ryan Schwyer, recorded the fourth fastest time (58 seconds) in the solo division when compared to his Hemet High teammates. The future looks good for the Hemet High Team!